With just a few hours to go before Apple kicks off WWDC, some analysts are rushing to make predictions right up till the last few moments. London-based research firm Ovum, for example, delivered a list of three things that its Chief Telecoms Analyst Jan Dawson feels are essential announcements that Apple needs to make during the WWDC keynote later today.
Dawson’s assessment breaks ranks with many other analysts who have insisted that Apple must unveil its own HDTV at the event or sometime later this year but does think Apple needs to bring apps to the TV experience. The remainder of his comments focus on iOS and changes that a wide swath of iPhone and iPad owners, developers, and tech journalists have suggested since Apple released iOS 5 last fall.
While Dawson doesn’t think that Apple needs to unveil a television, he does feel that the company needs to refine its movie and TV content options and open its Apple TV set-top box to outside developers in a manner similar to the Android-based Google TV platform.
To start, Apple needs to do two things in the TV space. Firstly, create a subscription model that combines the back catalog of Netflix with the timely content of Hulu for a single price. Secondly, it should create an software development kit followed by an App Store for the Apple TV device to allow third party apps to proliferate there as they have on the iPhone and iPad. What it does not need to do is launch a television set.
Dawson’s other points focus on Apple’s iOS and improvements needed to continue the platform’s growth. His first set of suggestions mirror features that iPhone and iPad owners, as well as most tech pundits, often cite as user interface mechanisms in Android and Windows Phone that should be brought to iOS.
Elsewhere, Apple needs to begin to evolve the iOS user interface on iPhone and iPad, which has been the inspiration for many other platforms, but at five years old it’s beginning to show its age. Proper support for widgets (including third party widgets), whether in the Notification Center or the main screen, is critical. Apple also needs to add a broader set of APIs to allow better cross-app interaction akin to what is possible on Android.
In evolving the iOS interface, Dawson also notes that Apple needs to reduce its dependence on services provided by other companies like Google.
Finally, Apple must find a way to replace the remaining third-party services, which are core to many users’ experience on the iPhone, with its own. It is likely to fix this problem with Maps in iOS 6, but it has a similar problem in web search, in social networking, and in PIM (email, contacts and calendar). Without really compelling offerings in each of these areas, Apple’s users will become increasingly ingrained in third party services which may be better supported on other platforms.